Last October, Eric and I had the wonderful opportunity to stay at the Grand Velas resort in Puerto Vallarta. We took hundreds of pictures and hours of video footage and then I was brought to tears when they were all lost. While I can’t recreate them, I can recreate the incredible mushroom soup we had in the Japanese restaurant at the resort. It’s incredibly simple yet full of flavor, and in our house it’s a favorite of both American and Chinese members of our family.
While you can definitely make this with any mushrooms, and choose go with whatever is cheapest, I really like using a variety of mushrooms. Different mushrooms have different nutrients, flavors and textures. But because button and cremini mushrooms are usually the least expensive, I’ll use them for about 3/4 of the amount and then supplement them with fun mushrooms like chanterelles, portabellas, morels, shittakes, oysters or little tiny enoki mushrooms.
When we had this in the restaurant, it wasn’t very busy, so I felt comfortable flagging down one of the prep chefs when he stepped out of the kitchen to ask about the recipe. I told him I knew there was onions, garlic, soy sauce and beef stock but was tasting something else I just couldn’t place.
He headed back into the kitchen and came out smiling. “The chef says your taste is very good.” He said in a thick Spanish accent. “He could not remember what stock he used today and was impressed to see it really was beef when he checked.”
Out of the corner of my eye I saw Eric give me a proud half smile, he knows how hard I’ve worked to develop my palate.
“Oh, gracias.” I answered humbly. “But what ingredient am I missing?”
“A very important one. It is the sake.” He gave a little half bow and returned to the buffet to restock the sushi.
I whipped out my cell phone and made a note of the ingredients to make sure I could make the soup at home. I’ve now made it several times and find that while the beef stock gives it a richer flavor, it’s still delicious with vegetable stock if you’re looking for a vegetarian soup recipe. I just add a little more soy sauce and sake to the vegetarian version.
Have you ever had a dish in a restaurant that you had to recreate at home?
Asian Mushroom Soup RecipePrep time: 15minutes Cook time: 15-20 minutes Total time: 30-35 minutes Yield: 4 servings
- 1 TBS
white onion, peeled and thinly sliced
- 3 cloves
- 1 pound
fresh sliced mushrooms (about 6 cups)
- 8 cups
beef or vegetable stock
- 1/4 cup (or more)
- 1/4 cup (or more)
- Heat the coconut oil in a large pot on high. Add the onions and garlic and stir to coat in the oil. Let cook about one minute until very fragrant.
- Add mushrooms and stir. Reduce heat to medium high and cook for five minutes.
- Add stock and cover the pot. Let simmer for 10 minutes.
- Uncover and add soy sauce and sake. Stir and add any additional soy sauce and sake to taste.
Approximate cost/serving: The cost really depends on where you get your mushrooms and what kind. Asian grocery stores will have a lot of varieties for very cheap. At American grocery stores it’s usually cheaper to get the bulk mushrooms and weigh out how much you want. I like to mix and match and usually pay about $3 total for a pound of a good variety of mushrooms. I make my own beef stock to save money and buy soy sauce by the gallon. This cost me about $4 to make so just $1 a serving.
Vegetarian/gluten free: You make make this totally vegan by using vegetable stock. For gluten free make sure to use gluten free soy sauce or tamari and you should make sure to wash your mushrooms (which everyone should do anyway) because some mushroom seeds are started on rye.
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